Down to the wire for Washougal football

Fumble, touchdown in the last minute save Panthers

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The Washougal High School football team caught a break against Mark Morris Friday, to keep its winning streak alive in Longview.

Tied 14-14 with the Monarchs in the final minute, Nathan Tofell recovered a fumble for the Panthers at the 5-yard line. Kade Coons then crossed the goal line to send Washougal to victory. He finished the game with 166 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

“He had another big game,” said Washougal head coach Dave Hajek.

“It’s tough to win when you shoot yourself in the foot,” he added, as costly penalties piled up on the Panthers. “They could have rolled over and took the loss, but they kept fighting throughout the whole game. Finally, they were able to overcome their mistakes and a well played game by Mark Morris to come away with the victory.”

Washougal took a 7-0 lead with six minutes left in the second quarter, when Jakob Davis caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Stevens. Mark Morris scored a touchdown three minutes into the third quarter, but failed on the extra point.

Less than a minute later, Coons broke free for a 63-yard touchdown run to put the Panthers up 14-6. The Monarchs answered with a touchdown and a 2-point conversion before the end of the third quarter to tie the score at 14-14.

Although the penalties continued to mount, the Panthers persevered and won the game. Brevan Bea led the Panthers on defense with 13 tackles and eight assists. Tofell collected 10 tackles, four assists and that game-changing fumble recovery.

“It’s good when you can find a way to win when you’re not playing your best, but it’s not good when you’re not playing your best,” Hajek said. “We let our win, loss record get to our heads and we overlooked Mark Morris, which is something you can never do. Beating Columbia River was good, but it can’t be the highlight of our season.”

Washougal will be tested at Ridgefield tomorrow. The Panthers then host defending league champion Hockinson Friday, Oct. 6. Both games begin at 7 p.m.

“Ridgefield feels like they are in a situation where they need to win, and we feel like we are in a situation where we need to win,” Hajek said. “It should be a good battle.”